Botswana is a land-locked country bordered by South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana is well known for its wilderness and wildlife areas. Experience the stunning beauty of the world's largest intact inland Delta – the Okavango, famous for exciting big game viewing; the vastness of the world's 2nd largest game reserve – the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; the isolation of the Makgadikgadi – uninhabited salt pans the size of Portugal; and the astoundingly prolific wildlife of the Chobe National Park.
Best time to visit: The best time for game safaris is May to October and for holidays, April and May.
Beef is the most popular meat, followed by goat, chicken and lamb. Try the national dish - Seswaa, a stew of boiled meat, maize meal and greens. River fish are also popular. Breads are oven baked and deep fried. Vegetables, fresh and cooked, are of infinite variety. Try the staple Pap or Bogobe - maize/sorghum porridge, Samp - dried corn kernels, Vetkoek - a traditional Afrikaner pastry, and the popular Mopane Worms. There are plenty of multi cuisine restaurants in the major cities.
Much of the fun at night in Botswana is in the bars, restaurants, night clubs with skilled DJs and pubs in all major towns.
Botswana's best bargains are handicrafts like fan palm hand-woven baskets and San handicrafts like jewellery made from ostrich eggshells. Woodcarvings and pottery, tapestries, fabrics, clothing, glassware are also a good buy. Gaborone abounds with shopping malls and almost every South African chain store has at least one branch here. Drop by at Main Mall and the more modern Games Mall. For more stylish goods, the shops in Maun are worth a visit.
Most major international airlines from Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, where connecting flights can be booked to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, or to Maun, Francistown or Kasane.
There is no simple or straightforward way to travel through Botswana.
Most major roads in Botswana are tarred and driving conditions are generally good. The main roads to established areas are regularly graded. Four-wheel drive is required when travelling in the national parks and reserves, as well as in remote areas. Car and four-wheel drive rental services are widely available in major tourist centers, airports and hotels.
Taxis are normally a convenient way to get around in towns and are reasonably priced. They are easily identified in designated stations or can be contacted by telephone. Taxis to Gaborone are also available from Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
If you are travelling to Botswana from areas infected with Yellow Fever, you must have a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Otherwise, no other immunizations are required. However, it would be wise to have an updated TPD (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) vaccine, and a Hepatitis A vaccine.
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